Sunday, March 02, 2014

I Love Kingfishers! … But Who Doesn’t?

It was a somewhat gray day out today, but that didn’t stop the local birds from putting on a show. One of my favorite local birds is the Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon). I like all kingfishers, at least all ten species I have seen, but the belted is the only species that makes it into Idaho. Our local hiking trail, Hull’s Gulch Reserve, has two ponds and there is a good chance of seeing kingfishers at least at one of them. For the past few years, they have nested near the upper pond. It appears as if they plan to do so again this year.

Female Belted Kingfisher justifying her name!

The pair were constantly vocalizing to each other. It appeared as if the male was in a bit more of an amorous mood as he kept his attention on the female, twice moving her off her perch. I can only assume the intent was to mate.

Female kingfisher leaving her perch as the male arrives

Female kingfisher escapes the approaching male.

She finds a new perch.

For those not familiar with Belted Kingfishers, the female has the rufous chest band whereas the male does not. It is rare among bird species for the female to be more colorful, but it is more common within the family of kingfisher species. Of the other two species of Kingfisher in North America, the female is more colorful in the Ringed Kingfisher, but not in the Green Kingfisher.

The male twice entered a local nest hole and called from within. This is not the nest hole that they used last year.

Male Belted Kingfisher approaching the nest hole.

Male Belted Kingfisher.

Male Belted Kingfisher.

He then turns his attention back to the female, but she was still not interested.

Female kingfisher once again evades the male.

It will be fun to continue watching this pair through the spring and summer.


Adrian Langdon said...

Great to see Rob, I shall follow with interest. we have the European Kingfisher here in the UK but I have seen the Belted on a few trips across the big pond!

Rob said...

Adrian, the European is not one that I have seen. Maybe I can add it as species number 11?

Unknown said...

Always great to see your posts. I am eager to follow.. Was in CA on a business trip - a short one, else would have made to Boise. When are you and Karen making it to India?